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247

saved from himself and in spite of himself, and if the British do
not do it, nobody else is likely to try.
In one vital department of agriculture, the British can emphati-
cally plead 'not guilty,' while the Hindu stands in the dock,
condemned by world opinion and apparently quite unmoved by
the verdict. That department is the cattle industry.
Pages of tedious statistics could be quoted about the livestock
situation in India : the main facts may be summarized as follows :
India has about a third of the world's cattlean absurdly
excessive proportion. These vast numbers are largely useless.
For instance, there are twice as many cattle per acre as in Den-
mark, which is.. .or used to be.. .the dairy of Europe. Yet in
India you can very seldom find a decent glass of milk* even if you
are able to pay for it.
The stark and disgraceful reason for this paradox is the Hindu
religion, which forbids cattle to be killed.    They can die by the
inches, yes, they can starve to death, they can stagger about in a
s,fcate of disease which is sickening to men with even the remnant
f pity, but put them painlessly out of their misery ?  Oh no ! As
e Congressman Minoo Masani says, without a touch of irony:
" Why is this so ? Because we are such a kind people I * In conse-
quence, the unfit cattle make life impossible for the fit; out of 100
cattle, 70 give no milk at all. And there is so little food left or
the remaining 30 that they give an average of li Ib. a day, which
is less than a third of the amount they would be giving in a
normal country.2 That is the price the Hindus pay for allowing
the elephant god to give orders in the farmyard.
This, it must be insisted, is a contemporary problem, and the
British cannot be blamed for not solving it. It is quite beyond
solution as long as the Hindu religion remains what it is. Gandhi
might possibly bring about a change of view, but as always* when
confronted with a concrete problem, he retires like a quid and
confuses the issue by surrounding it with clouds of ink pumped
1 Quit India, by Minoo Masani (Oxford University Press). In spifce of the apparent
evidence to the contrary I do not think it is jast to describe the Indians as deli-
berately cruel to animals. Unfortunately, however, their combination of ignorance
8nd reigious fanaticism produces results which are worse than the most devilish
cruelty,
* The German gets the same amount of flk from one cow as the Indian from
nine.